30 Books in 30 Days, Vol. 2
This ended just as it was getting going! I understand that there were publishing issues, and logistical things to consider in terms of ballooning page length on this one, but if I were her publishers, I would have just let her turn in one gigantic book late than split the book in two, to its detriment, just so they could publish on time. This is not a full story, and it starts out slow in the beginning, even for a Robin Hobb book. I was very ho hum about this until it hit about 58%, which is a long way in! And then I was really into it. But seriously, that’s a long time to wait, and a lot of the stuff at the beginning could have been left out or condensed.
This picks up several weeks (or a couple months?) after the end of the last book. The Keepers are trying to prepare for winter at Kelsingra, and the dragons except Heeby are still trying to learn how to fly (some are trying harder than others). Alyse and Rapskal have a disagreement over the city. Alyse wants to preserve and learn from it, but Rapskal thinks that the city should be used, and that it’s for Elderlings and dragons. Meanwhile, back in Bingtown, Hest finally decides (due to being threatened by Chalcedeans, and also bc Daddy tells him if he gets Alyse back he could own a huge stake in the wealth of Kelsingra) that he’s going to Kelsingra to put Alyse and Sedric in their place. We also get Selden POV, which we haven’t ever had before, but he’s having a real bad time of it, once again because of the Chalcedeans. Captain Leftrin and the Tarman are headed back to Cassarick to resupply for the winter. Malta is about to give birth, and because she is now a Rain Wilder, there is a lot of anxiety surrounding that. And that’s pretty much it. Nothing gets much further than the starts of those arcs.
If I had been reading these books as they were published, I think I would probably have been pretty salty about this one, but as it stands, I already own the last book and I knew going in that I wasn’t going to get resolution here. That did help. I was honestly going to three star this book for most of it, but as soon as Malta’s plot got going, I was suddenly rabid about it. SPOILERS The scene where Malta gives birth and what happens after was really, really well done. I also really liked the tension created by everyone starting to converge on Kelsingra, and I’m hoping that will end in some delicious conflict END SPOILERS.